It was back in 2016 when Bear Cricket were first brought to my attention. A friend of mine, nicknamed the Polar Bear because of his giant paws, invested in some pads of theirs, and, in all honesty, I’ve been checking back in at least once a week to see if they’ve released any new lines ever since.
So, it was to my excitement to see Bear Cricket’s Kodiak range was back again for another year, after making it into the All Out Cricket Gear Test top 10 in 2017.
It’s the biggest bat in their range, and quite simply, the nicest piece of willow I’ve had the pleasure of playing with. Let me tell you why.
First of all, this isn’t a paid post – we reached out to Bear to see if they’d be up for collaborating with us. Oh, and once you’ve all read this review – we’re going to give you the chance to win Bear Cricket’s Kodiak bat over on our social media pages and below, so keep an eye out.
It’s funny – whenever you turn up to pre-season nets with new gear, people get excited. “Where did you get this from,” chirped one of the lads. “Lovely bit of kit,” Said another. But none of those comments really mean anything, I mean the bat looks delightful, but the comment that made me think most, was that from our senior coach, Mo. “Brando, that’s a nice bat you’ve got there mate – two-coloured willow too. You don’t see many using that.”
A couple of throw downs was all I needed to see just how good this bat is.
At 2.11lb the bat’s profile and pick up felt like they suited my style of play. Famously, I’m not much of a back foot player, however, and I’m not entirely sure how, but using this stick, I was able to shift my weight onto the back foot and play the ball behind square – something I’ve not been able to do in the past. It’s not like I’ve become a back foot player overnight – maybe it’s the weight distribution on the bat that allowed me to do this.
The thing that impressed me most about this bat was the striking power – it felt superb every time I connected with one in the middle. The sound. The sound. Sweet as you like.
When coming out of the net; “That bat sounded nice Brando!” – then Mo came up to me and complimented me both on my performance that evening and the way the bat sounded; “I told you so mate.”
In their own words, Bear Cricket describe the Kodiak: “ Shaped to allow for the maximum amount of willow in the hitting area, coupled with a light and balanced pick up, these supersized clefts will help feed your hunger for runs. With a mid sweet spot this is perfect for the expansive stroke-maker.”
Every Bear Cricket bat is handmade by their master bat maker with premium Grade 1 English Willow grown in private forests here in the UK. They all come pre-knocked in with an anti-scuff and edging tape applied.
Bat specifications: Edge = 40mm, Spine = 65mm, Toe = 26mm
Coming in at a very reasonable £285, it’s great value for money and it’ll last you 1,000s or runs – that’s at least three seasons worth for me…
Get the bat here: http://bit.ly/2V8NOhZ
Want to win a Kodiak bat thanks to Bear Cricket? Enter here: http://bit.ly/2OEQXDB
In the words of Brian Butterfield – that’s not all… time to take a look at the protection that Bear Cricket offers, starting with their pads.
They’re excellent. Lightweight, super comfortable and they come with padded mesh lined straps with velcro for additional comfort alongside easy attach and release.
The couldn’t have put it better themselves: “Even the strongest of Bears need to protect themselves whilst on the hunt! Power on knowing you have the best of protection with our range of softs, designed with comfort and flexibility in mind, our pads, gloves and keeping equipment will ensure you have the best chance of staying at the top of the food chain.”
I’ve not used double V straps previously, but what it does do is allow you to pull the straps tighter – a personal preference of mine.
They’re clean and have a 7 Cane front for a low rebound with a hinged side wing for greater manoeuvrability – and what’s more is that they offer Test level protection.
Now onto the gloves – again, clean, lightweight and durable, the complimented my backlift nicely allowing me to time the ball better.
Fibre inserts on top of every finger provide further protection – two-piece thumb protection and three-piece finger protection. The gloves also have mesh gusset for air ventilation.
I’m a big fan of these gloves, and the pads too. Bear Cricket are an up and coming brand from Yorkshire and they’re one I can thoroughly get behind – I love their work.
If you’re looking for new gear ahead of the season – I can’t recommend checking these guys out enough.
Bear’s pads will set you back £75 while the gloves come in at £65 – a worthwhile investment.